Promoting cultural depth in minds of Vietnam and Lao people

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Manh Hung, the Vietnam-Laos relationship has been cultivated by generations as “a relay race”. To preserve the precious sentiment, Vietnam and Laos should maintain, nurture and promote the cultural depth in every generation of the two countries.
Đại sứ Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng dự Triển lãm giao lưu mỹ thuật giữa nghệ sĩ Việt Nam-Lào vào tháng 5/2014. (Nguồn: Tổng cục Du lịch)
Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung attends the Vietnam – Laos art exchange programme in May 2014. (Source: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism)

Having held the position of Ambassador of Vietnam to Laos for 4 years (12/2012-12/2016), Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung bears in mind unforgettable memories in the “land of a million elephants”. What made him impressive the most is the love Lao people exert for others, making all of them feel like family.

Widely expanded culture

The former Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos often recounts to friends and relatives his visit to Bokeo province. From Luang Prabang to Bokeo, he had to take a ferry port which had shacks on both sides, similar to Vietnam’s ones during the war.

Stopping at a beverage store, the Ambassador talked to the owner, who was a typical Lao woman.

“Initially, she talked to me in Lao and I said that I did not know Lao because I am Vietnamese. Immediately, she turned to speak Vietnamese. Then I knew that she had lived with and learned Vietnamese from the Vietnamese army”.

“Having lived far away from home, meeting a local who speaks Vietnamese fluently made me so surprised but happy”, Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung said.

Hung was asked many times if he knew Lao when he came to the country to begin his term.

For him, the fortunate thing is that many of his Lao friends know Vietnamese. “The leaders, the officials of Laos know Vietnamese. Even on a local business trip, we meet people who know the Vietnamese,” said the diplomat.

The above story partly demonstrates the depth of the Vietnam-Laos relationship. The fact that many Lao people, who know and even speak fluently the Vietnamese language, shows that the people of Laos attach great significance to Vietnam. Originating from strong roots, the languages of the two countries can spread widely.

Taking the example of songs praising the Vietnam-Laos relationship, Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung believes that beautiful lyrics and melodies come out from the vibrations in the musician's heart and soul. These melodies are also indispensable in the Laotian dances. Therefore, it expresses the cultural depth in the minds of the people of Vietnam and Laos.

Đại sứ Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng tại lễ trao học bổng của Chính phủ Việt Nam cho con em Việt kiều Lào năm 2015. (Nguồn: Nhân dân)
Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung at the Vietnamese Government's scholarship award ceremony for Vietnamese overseas children in Laos in 2015. (Source: Nhan Dan)

An untiring “relay race”

After completing his tenure in Laos, Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung came back to Vietnam and became the Deputy Head of the Commission for External Relations under the CPV Central Committee for about half a year. In mid-2017, he retired and was assigned as Vice Chairman of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association.

In this new position, Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung and the Association's Executive Board have helped promote the dynamism and initiative of the Association's organizations in the localities, contributing to the development of the friendly relationship between the two countries.

The Association in the localities organized the program "Homestay - welcoming Laotian students home" in which many members of the Association take care of Laos students like family and welcome them home for activities on weekends or holidays. At the same time, Lao students have the opportunity to better understand the customs, practices, language, culture, and lifestyle of Vietnam.

The Association also organizes many Vietnamese speaking competitions for Lao students living and studying in Vietnam. In 2020-2021, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a hiatus in life and cultural exchange activities between Vietnam and Laos. However, mutual support and help for each other is always maintained.

The Vietnam side donated medical supplies and equipment to help Laos and contributed to the fight against Covid-19 of both countries.

For Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung, the Vietnam-Laos relationship has been cultivated by generations as “a relay race”. Every generation has aspired to such cooperation and passed on to the next generation. Therefore, the "solidarity tree" between Vietnam and Laos always stays perpetually green and in bloom, bringing fruitfulness and happiness to the people of the two countries.

A Laos proverb says: “If a pearl is not sharpened, it will become a stone”. It also means that relatives who have not met each other for a long time, eventually become strangers. Vietnam and Laos have a great friendship, but it will gradually fade away if it is not nurtured and cultivated regularly.

"Vietnam-Laos ties will continue to thrive in a strong, effective and sustainable manner thanks to the cooperation of both sides throughout history", the Ambassador said.

2022 marks Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam Solidarity and Friendship Year. On this special occasion, Ambassador Nguyen Manh Hung has expressed his wish that the activities within the framework of the commemorative programs are organized successfully.

Besides, each ministry, locality and citizen of both sides has their own ways to contribute to the friendship between the two countries, so that the "solidarity tree" between Vietnam and Laos develops strongly and bears fruit.

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